The Comptroller and Auditor General of India has rapped Punjab Government for utilising "paltry" sum of the amount allotted for creating awareness about the ill effects of drug abuse in the state.
In its latest report on social, general and economic factors, the government auditor came hard against the state government's Social Security and Women and Child Development department for "failing" to give due importance to the drug abuse issue which has become a "serious problem" in the state.
CAG found that the funds of only Rs 98 lakh (24 per cent) were released or utilised against the total budget of Rs 4.14 crore during 2010 till 2014 by the SSWCD department on 'Awareness against Drug Abuse Scheme'.
'Awareness against Drug Abuse Scheme' was formulated in 2005 with the objective to create awareness against drug abuse among people through electronic and print media counselling in school, colleges, and theme camps in villages, blocks and districts.
The department could organise only 41 (against 260) theme camps at district or block level, 52 (against 410) TV campaigns, 418 (against 2031) radio campaigns during 2010-14 under this scheme, said the report.
During 2009-10, no expenditure was incurred under this scheme, it said.
During the exit conference, the SSWCD department had stated that due to non-release of funds by the Finance Department, the targeted awareness among masses about the ill effects of drugs could not be created, CAG said.
"Thus despite provision of funds and the fact that the drug abuse is a serious problem in the state, the state government failed to provide due importance to the problem," CAG observed in the report.